It's good for me to have a day off from yoga once a week. Yesterday was such a day as it was Saturday. It's probably very good for the body. But more than relaxing my body I appreciate that I've time for other important activities, like cleaning, and desk tasks. Much more relaxed I begin another yoga week when basic tasks are done.
In the evening I read in the book by Matthew Sweeney "Ashtanga yoga as it is" and I found again some goodies:
"Do not be in a hurry to reach the finish line, for there is none."
This is one of the sentences that takes away the stress and pressure from the practice. There will be always something to learn, to improve, to work on. As soon as an asana is managed it can be refined and the next asana appears at the horizon.
I also loved what Matthew Sweeney wrote about self-practice (page 18 ff in "Ashtanga yoga as it it"):
"The level of your yoga is particularly obvious when you practice alone."
1. He summarizes the advantages of practicing in a group: motivation, concentration and increased energy.
2. "Solitary self practice is a practice of inner contemplation, self discipline and self reliance." (page 19, same book)
"A sign of a true yogi is being comfortable in your own skin - the ability to be alone." (page 19, same book as above)
I agree with all that. Practicing yoga alone teaches to rely on oneself. Alone on the mat my own awareness becomes my teacher. Ashtanga yoga challenges all my senses. When I practice I feel the limits in my body, I have a gazing point for my eyes and I listen to my breath. How exciting.
Here is the book by Matthew Sweeney "Ashtanga yoga as it is":